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Survey: Key Practices of Agile Finance Leaders in FP&A

New research from the Association of Financial Professionals identifies key practices that set apart agile finance leaders.

November 8, 2022 — Bethesda, Md. Agile finance leaders reforecast faster and are more likely to consider alternative events in their planning, according to findings from the 2022 AFP FP&A Survey: Measuring Agility in FP&A, underwritten by Workday.

New data shows that agile finance leaders are more than 50% faster at reforecasting than their peers, requiring an average of 9.4 days to reforecast versus 14.5 for others in their field. They are also more likely to use multiple scenarios in the planning process, with 94% of agile leaders agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement that “FP&A uses multiple scenarios.”

In addition, agile finance leaders:

  • Prioritize agility as the highest operational metric over performance management, expanding capacity and risk management.
  • Seek out continual improvement through experimentation, new methods and disruptive ideas.
  • Have better tools for rapid planning, including access to timely data with minimal curation.

The survey also found that while 54% of FP&A practitioners strongly agreed that their FP&A team is adequately staffed, 65% of practitioners reported working at or over 100 percent capacity. The results suggest that FP&A practitioners have normalized a level of customer support and ad hoc activity that is not sustainable without increased staffing.

“In order for finance leaders to remain agile, they need to have the capacity to respond to unforeseen events promptly, anticipate alternative events, and attempt new projects that lead to innovation,” said Jim Kaitz, president & CEO of AFP. “Businesses must ensure that their FP&A teams are adequately staffed and equipped to maintain their agility.”

“Agility and flexibility are key for finance to move faster and function as a true business partner,” said Kae Arima, vice president of finance of Workday. “Flexible, cloud-based technology powered by machine learning helps create a more data-driven, agile finance organization where teams drive operational change, guide business strategy, and deliver greater value to the full enterprise.” 

The 2022 AFP FP&A Survey: Measuring Agility in FP&A was conducted in August/September 2022 and received 255 responses from corporate practitioners from organizations of varying sizes representing a broad range of industries. For the purpose of analysis, point values were assigned to all respondents; agile leaders are defined as the highest scoring, i.e., the top 20% of respondents.

Full survey results are available on the 2022 AFP FP&A Survey: Measuring Agility in FP&A page. Please direct all press inquiries to Melissa Rawak, managing director, at [email protected].

About AFP®
Headquartered outside of Washington, D.C., and located regionally in Singapore, the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is the professional society committed to advancing the success of treasury and finance members and their organizations. Established and administered by AFP, the Certified Treasury Professional and Certified Corporate FP&A Professional credentials set standards of excellence in treasury and finance.

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